Texas A&M University’s expansion in the Rio Grande Valley hit another milestone today with the groundbreaking of the Texas A&M Health Nursing Education and Research Building at the Texas A&M University Higher Education Center at McAllen. The facility will be home to Texas A&M School of Nursing programs and Texas A&M School of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences research and outreach.
The Texas A&M System Board of Regents authorized construction of the $49.9 million facility in November 2023. The growth is part of a broad commitment made by the regents and Chancellor John Sharp to provide additional pathways for Rio Grande Valley students to earn a Texas A&M degree while staying close to home.
“We at the Texas A&M System are dedicated to the people of South Texas and Rio Grande Valley,” Sharp said. “And that is why we are investing in the region—and its health—with a new facility for nursing and health-related research.”
The Texas Legislature in 2021 approved $29.9 million for the Texas A&M Health Science Center (Texas A&M Health) to support growth in student enrollment for in-demand fields like nursing. Texas A&M leadership earmarked $20 million for the project.
The nearly 61,000-square-foot building will be constructed on the west side of the Higher Education Center campus and includes four nursing classrooms, student study areas, a 10,000-square-foot clinical simulation center and space for a veterinary clinic and research laboratory.
The School of Nursing will first focus on offering its traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. The two-year, five-semester program has approval from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to be delivered entirely in McAllen. The school expects to eventually enroll approximately 50 students per semester, helping the valley and state address a critical shortage of nurses.
“Our clinical partners in the valley have made it clear that the future of public health is directly related to the availability of highly trained nurses who understand how to deliver care in this area,” said Dr. Leann Horsley, dean of the School of Nursing. “Our Aggie nurses studying in McAllen will enjoy access to expert faculty, cutting-edge simulation training and clinical experiences right here in the communities they will serve upon graduation.”
The School of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences unit will serve as an important resource for the school’s faculty and students researching transboundary infectious diseases, large animal biosecurity, zoonotic diseases, veterinary public health, and bilingual public outreach in South Texas.
“This new facility will offer a home base for VMBS faculty and students conducting important research and outreach while also expanding our ability to facilitate programmatic partnerships on the border,” said Dr. John R. August, Carl B. King Dean of Veterinary Medicine at Texas A&M. “Additionally, through the McAllen facility, we can further our efforts, and Texas A&M’s land-grant mission, by promoting animal health in underserved communities, enhancing student recruitment, providing specialized patient consultation in the Rio Grande Valley through telemedicine, and promoting border health.”
The Higher Education Center at McAllen opened in 2018 and currently offers nine undergraduate degree programs. The Texas A&M Health Science Center has offered education programs in McAllen since 2004.
“It is a major focus of the Higher Education Center at McAllen to be accessible to students and serve the needs of our community,” said Manny Vela, associate vice president and chief operating officer of the Higher Education Center at McAllen. “By collaborating with Texas A&M Health, we are fulfilling our shared goal of expanding academic offerings to the Rio Grande Valley, especially in industries that are of such great demand.”
The Nursing Education and Research Building is expected to be open for the spring 2026 semester.